Chow Yun-Fat Defiant in Face of Calls to Ban Him From Chinese Movie Screens
"I'll just make less then," was the 'Bulletproof Monk's' pithy response to threats to his career and future earnings
A few weeks ago, Chow Yun-fat bravely became the first notable Hong Kong celebrity to back the pro-democracy protests raging in the city, but now his support could jeopardize his film career in the lucrative Chinese market.
As the protests move into a second month, there has been a growing campaign in the Chinese media echoed loudly and spread on social media sites like Weibo for protest-supporting celebrities to be boycotted or even banned from working in China and in the case of actors and directors, their films to be pulled from distribution.
Chow (Bulletproof Monk; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who is extremely well-liked in Hong Kong for his philanthropy and humble nature, took the threats to his career and future earnings in his stride, responding to the rumored ban in China with a simple: "I'll just make less then."
Chow has been singled out by Chinese media because of his reported comments in Hong Kong's biggest daily newspaper Apple Daily, principally that he felt the students and other protesters were brave and that he was touched by their fight for what they believe in. Soon after, other stars such as Andy Lau and Tony Leung broke their silence, but were more tempered in their support for demonstrators, rather hoping that the protests remained without incident or injury.
And it wasn't just Hong Kong celebrities who showed their support. American soft jazz maestro Kenny G also visited protest sites, talked to demonstrators and tweeted his encouragement. The protests have created a schism in the Hong Kong entertainment industry, between those who support the protests and those actors and directors who are aligning themselves with Chinese government, leaving them open to accusations that they are concerned about their career prospects in the world's second-biggest movie market.
However, in the face of boycotts and threats to ban artists, some notable stars have continued with their silence, while others have walked back their initial support, most notably Kenny G, a hugely popular artist in China, who after being singled out for criticism by Chinese government officials tweeted a number of messages that sought to distance himself from the protests.
It's unfair that I am being used by anyone to say that I am showing support for the demonstrators. I am not supporting the demonstrators— Kenny G (@officialkennyg) October 22, 2014
I don't really know anything about the situation and my impromptu visit to the site was just part of an innocent walk around Hong Kong— Kenny G (@officialkennyg) October 22, 2014